Paradox is happy to share the names of the talented international group of artists working on Houses of Darkness, our long-term collaboration with three WWII memorial centres in Norway, Germany, and The Netherlands. Over the coming months, three teams will produce new work focusing on the ‘perpetrator perspective’, taking another route into the WWII heritage of extreme intolerance culminating in genocide. Departing from the traces/remains of the houses of the camp commanders, the teams will investigate their own family’s mental and historical relationship with a dark past, a past that is lesser known to new generations of Europeans. Sharing family histories with multiple painful perspectives will confront us with lines of thought that are much less remote than one would wish them to be.
Dutch-American documentary film-makers Jongsma+O’Neill will explore the area of Kamp Westerbork – a former transition camp in the province of Drenthe, the Netherlands – where Eline Jongsma used to forage for mushrooms with her family as a child. The discovery of a WWII-era perpetrator hiding in her family tree inspired her to re-evaluate her relationship to history, and to the ground beneath her feet. Similarly, having grown up in the close proximity to the former concentration camp in Dachau, Germany, visual artist and photographer Jakob Ganslmeier has teamed up with Dutch-Surinamese spoken word artist Onias Landveld, contemplating the present-day perception of the Holocaust as mediated through archetypical mages. At the smallest of the three memorial centres, the former Falstad prison in Norway, Ganslmeier will work with Norwegian writer Simon Stranger, author of the acclaimed Keep Saying Their Names. In his novel Stranger shifts the perspective from the Jewish family of his wife to that of a Norwegian SS commander, departing from a house in Trondheim where both have resided.
The stories will be launched online early this summer, physical exhibitions/installations at the three memorial centres will be opened in late June to early July. Kummer & Herrman designers from Utrecht (NL) are responsible for the visual identity of the project. UK based Stand + Stare are developing an innovative web app, providing context as well as interaction with the core of the Slices based narratives, as well as the installations by the authors, produced by Paradox.
Houses of Darkness is supported by an AECEA grant of the European Union, Zeit Stiftung, Dutch Culture, the Province of Drenthe (NL) and others.